Wednesday, September 23, 2015

You've Heard This Story Before


Bruce Carson's trial did not last long. We now await the judge's decision. On one level, the trial was about one individual's corrupt behaviour. But, on another level, the trial revealed yet again how the Harper government corrupts everything it touches. David Keith provides a little context:

In the spring of 2004, University of Calgary President Harvey Weingarten recruited me back to Canada to help build a top-notch research centre that would inform the hard energy choices faced by Alberta, Canada, and the larger world. In September 2006, I travelled to Ottawa with Weingarten to showcase our efforts and help raise funds. We met with Carson, who was seen as the prime minister’s go-to guy for climate policy, an increasingly hot topic as the Kyoto accord gained visibility. My impression of Carson then and in succeeding months was of a gruff lawyer keen to cut through the spin and craft a middle-ground deal on climate policy. 

Carson was soon appointed to the position of Executive Director of the University of Calgary's School of Energy and the Environment. And it immediately became apparent that Carson was the oil patch's go-to-guy: 

It soon became clear that Carson was simply using his academic post to further the interests of the conservative government and a narrow segment of the energy industry. Documents released by the RCMP contain emails and interviews making it unequivocally clear that Carson worked closely with industry leaders to produce meetings and reports that had the patina of stakeholder representation, while in fact aiming to avoid meaningful public debate.

Leaders of Alberta’s universities did nothing substantive to manage the problem until Carson’s scandal forced their hands. Even then, they failed to act decisively to ensure that public money was used for research that supported broad public interests.

Keith's conclusion bears repeating:

This is a national problem. Over decades, Canadian governments have emasculated or killed institutions that gave independent advice on science and technology so that they are now among the weakest in the G7. Federal and provincial governments increasingly demand that research funding be tied to matching money from industry, so work that threatens industry’s interests does not get funded. It’s a good idea to tie some applied work in engineering to industrial interests, but this requirement must not apply to policy analysis.

But you've heard this story before.


Anonymous said...

Just as you have also heard the story before that U. of Calgary is Harper's alma mater where he "trained" to be an "Economist". His Finance Minister is still insisting no recession even with the data saying there is at least a technical one. Enough said. :)

Toby said...

Owen said, "But you've heard this story before."

Worse. Many of us warned about it years ago and were chastised for it. We were told that our politicians and governments act in our best interests and would never do those things. There is a small satisfaction in being right but we still have the problem and it's getting worse and most of our population still has its collective head in the sand.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Toby. There are plenty of Canadians who knew what was going on long before now. Unfortunately, there were too many Canadians who were too apathetic to concern themselves with what was going on.

Owen Gray said...

The evidence and the data mean nothing to these folks, Anon. As Harper famously told Bill Casey: "The words mean what I say they mean."

Mogs Moglio said...

Owen I have not been in Alberta for years. My formative years were there. If memory serves me The University of Calgary became in time a very American and Oil soaked educational channel. For instance if you wanted to learn accounting you were taught 'oil field accounting' if you wanted to learn Geology you learned how to find oil with geology. If you wanted to learn applied science it was all about the new methods for oil extraction etc. So it stands to reasonable scrutiny that Harper learned only Oilfield Economics and it is a black tsunami wave crushing Canada.

So the facts that Carson, Flanagan and Harper are all tied to the UofC surprises me little. And this simple Google search string: university of calgary ties to the oil patch and americans; yields a gold mine of information. It seems the UofC has been compromised for big oil and Americans that is Harper's DNA:

Go figure; harper is one of those oil-patch robots programmed in Calgary by the likes of the American Koch [Kook] Bros.

Owen Gray said...

Harper's history has been soaked in oil, Mogs. It's little wonder that he can't see beyond the Oil Patch.